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Mixed media

Tue, Dec 13, 2011

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I delivered two TED-style talks at the 2011 International Conference on Sustainability, Transition and Culture Change in Bellaire, Michigan. The presentations embedded below were delivered to the few dozen people remaining at the conference on its fourth day, Sunday, 13 November.

The first video clip describes my personal journey in the usual, self-indulgent manner, and the program allowed no time for subsequent questions. The second clip humorously describes the efforts we’ve made at the mud hut, and the formal presentation is followed by my answers to a few softly spoken questions.

Also on 13 November 2011, during a break from the conference, I was interviewed by KMO along with Kurt Cobb and Henry Warwick. The resulting audio file is posted at KMO’s C-REALM radio.

Finally, my monthly essay for Transition Voice was published a few days ago: Is terminating the industrial economy a moral act? The latter essay is permalinked at Counter Currents.

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78 Responses to “Mixed media”

  1. Kathy C Says:

    Guy, just read your essay. Well said, but of course disturbing. It seems that the powers are hard at work destroying their own edifice. Apparently you think they are not doing so quick enough?

  2. Victor Says:

    Kathy

    Which essay is that?

  3. Victor Says:

    Rain, rain, rain….
    Wind, wind, wind….
    When will it ever end?…

  4. Victor Says:

    nevermind….I see the one… :-)

  5. Victor Says:

    Guy

    Very well written (your essay). I join Kathy’s question – Don’t you think TPTB are doing a good enough job at that?

    But I also sense a deeper issue here. Personal responsibility regardless of what others are (or not) doing to hasten the destruction of this industrial black hole.

    Is it right to hang back and simply let it happen by others? Is that the easy way out? Is that the moral way out? Should we be throwing our bodies into the breach, however futile the action – simply because to fight is the right and moral thing to do at this point?

  6. Guy McPherson Says:

    Resistance is fertile. Resistance is worthy for its own sake. And resistance, in this case, has a profoundly ethical foundation.

  7. Mark Johnson Says:

    Guy, I live up in Oregon now, was down in Arizona, didn’t think that is where you want to be when things get bad. I had drawn up plans much like you are doing, but never committed. I recently thought that maybe I don’t have to commit like you, but learn how to live in the forests of Oregon without gardening and water harvesting. Basically just learn what you can eat that already grows and being close to a fresh water source. It would take practice, wouldn’t want to be stuck out there with a book in hand that I read once. This way I can live the life in the empire as long as possible but would be prepared when it collapses. What do you think?

  8. Guy McPherson Says:

    Mark Johnson, thanks for your first-time comment. I wholeheartedly support your decision to live as humans lived during our first two million years. And Oregon, especially coastal Oregon, is a great place to do it. Good luck to you.

  9. Victor Says:

    Mark Johnson

    I am envious! Best of luck to you.

  10. Guy McPherson Says:

    Merging of the U.S. military and local police units nears completion, as predator drones are used to aid civilian arrests. The Pentagon already had been supplying military gear to U.S. police forces, including “grenade launchers, helicopters, military robots, M-16 assault rifles and armored vehicles.”

    I feel safer already.

    Somebody please remind me why we want to keep this lunacy going.

  11. Victor Says:

    Somebody please remind me why we want to keep this lunacy going.

    To protect your freedoms and the American way of life from all those terrorists out there.

  12. Guy McPherson Says:

    Thanks, Victor. Sometimes I forget about the important issues, like freedom and democracy, and threats to them, like terrorists.

    I cannot understand why WordPress lacks an icon for “eyes roll back in head.” It would work perfectly here.

  13. Kevin Moore Says:

    Here’s an interesting thought. A few months ago an American living in NZ was so concerned about Fukishima he organised the movement of his family AWAY from Oregon to Florida, and Mike Ruppert was tearing what’s left of his hair out over redioactive fallout raining down on the west coast, causing a rise in infant mortality etc.

    Somebody must have it wrong.

    Didn’t Carolyn Baker try Vermont for a while and then decide that’s not the place to be?

  14. Guy McPherson Says:

    I suspect we’re headed for meltdown of all the world’s 443 nuclear power plants, within a few years. At that point, living anywhere on Earth will be fatal in the relatively short term.

    As I understand it, Carolyn couldn’t tolerate either or both: country living on the east coast. She moved to Boulder, Colorado (she’d been living in Las Cruces, New Mexico before moving to Vermont).

  15. Victor Says:

    Shouldn’t the southern hemisphere be safer than the northern – prevailing winds and currents and all?

  16. Guy McPherson Says:

    I suspect the southern hemisphere will be safer than the northern hemisphere, Victor, at least in the short term. Eventually, though, I suspect all the ionizing radiation destroys most of life on Earth.

    And, on the topic of destroying life on Earth, Admiral John Hutson, who was Judge Advocate General of the Navy from 1997 to 2000 and is dean emeritus of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, claims the notion of indefinite detention represents a win for terrorists. I agree, though I suspect he’s referring to somebody other than the politicians in Washington, D.C.

  17. Guy McPherson Says:

    Mark Sircus writes at Natural News: “We have been living through an agonizingly slow death of the system for years, so at this point, or a point very soon, the entire system will go down and go down fast like a house does when on fire. Since 2008 all the financial remedies have only made the wood dryer so when things start to burn, when bond holders lose their shirts, when banks go down, when governments default, the fire will burn hotter.

  18. Kevin Moore Says:

    Victor.

    I’m not sure whether that’s a rhetorical question.

    Nevil Shute worked it out and wrote about is around 55 years ago: ‘On the Beach’.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Beach_(novel)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Beach_(1959_film)

    I’m sure we’ve talked about this before…. false hope, denial, bargaining, acceptance.

    It’s fascinating to watch the film and see examples of the march towards unsustainability that has occured since 1959.

    Just think, if gloabl Peak Oil had hit in 1960 humanity (and the natural world) may have stood some chance.

  19. Kevin Moore Says:

    By the way Guy.

    TED-style? I’ve cut the list down.

    TED Tooheys Extra Dry (Australian beer)
    TED Timing Error Detector
    TED Total Energy Detector
    TED Threat Environment Description
    TED Typical Enlisted Dude
    TED The Emperor’s Decree
    TED Trial Evaluation Document
    TED Threat Environment Defense
    TED Test of Economic Decisionmaking

  20. Victor Says:

    Kevin

    Technology, Entertainment, Design

    A conference held to discuss new developments combining the above….usually includes talks on the newest gadgets…

  21. Guy McPherson Says:

    TED talks are inspirational, short presentations, often without visual aids. See here.

    Headline of the morning: Markets of Shame Before The Collapse: Crisis, Crisis, Everywhere

  22. Kathy C Says:

    Mexican farmers despair over record drought
    by Staff Writers
    Chihuahua, Mexico (AFP) Dec 12, 2011

    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Mexican_farmers_despair_over_record_drought_999.html

    Dust blows across once fertile fields in north Mexico, where the worst drought in 70 years has left thousands of cattle dead and destroyed more than two million acres (almost one million hectares) of crops.

    “It practically hasn’t rained this year,” said Ernesto Ruiz, a farmer in Satevo, in the border state of Chihuahua.

    “It’s sad to see the land like this,” Ruiz added, observing the remains of his corn and sorghum fields.

    Dry conditions have affected 1.7 million head of cattle, including 50,000 that have died, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

  23. Kathy C Says:

    OK here is my question of the day – why hasn’t civilization already collapsed. It is clear it is being held together with promises and hot air and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it still holds.

  24. Resa Says:

    Victor:

    Re: “Mark Johnson I am envious!”

    Well, don’t get too envious. There’s a reason why the Pacific NW remained “un”settled for so long. And it ain’t because of its charm.

    But, heck, if I can scrape by, anyone can.

    Mark:

    I echo Victor’s blessing. Best of luck foraging from the wild.

  25. Guy McPherson Says:

    Ann Barnhardt joins the party, predicting collapse before the end of 2012

  26. Robin Datta Says:

    Sometimes I forget about the important issues, like freedom and democracy, and threats to them, like terrorists.

    These fall into the category of “community”. As Dr. McPherson has pointed out, food, water and maittenance of body temperatire, are top priorities.

    A much angrier Ann Barnhardt on the Firancial Sense Newshour:
    Ann Barnhardt: The Entire Futures/Options Market Has Been Destroyed by the MF Global Collapse

  27. Kevin Moore Says:

    Markets manipulated? Or just completely mad?

    Gold down 5% overnight ($1578) as investors flee to paper money in unsettled times.

  28. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    OK here is my question of the day – why hasn’t civilization already collapsed. It is clear it is being held together with promises and hot air and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it still holds.

    Kathy, my guess is that for the vast majority, there is no other choice – just keep going with the charade until there’s nothing left to keep going with. After all, what’s the alternative? Mass starvation, wars, destruction, no more Starbucks.

  29. Kathy C Says:

    Speaking of hot air

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/shock-as-retreat-of-arctic-sea-ice-releases-deadly-greenhouse-gas-6276134.html

    “Shock as retreat of Arctic sea ice releases deadly greenhouse gas
    Russian research team astonished after finding ‘fountains’ of methane bubbling to surface

    Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

    The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years”

  30. Guy McPherson Says:

    Shocked? Astonished? I guess the head of the Russian research team hasn’t been following my writing in this space or at Transition Voice.

  31. Ed Says:

    Hi Kathy: Kyle Bass seems to be everywhere these days. Live yesterday on BNN and today on CNBC. His thoughts are that Europe goes first, then Japan, and then the US. He really is something to listen to. He reminds me of Richard Rainwater. Rainwater was the guy who made a fortune for the Bass family in TX investing in oil. He did a piece in Barron’s years ago about peak oil and then disappeared into NC buying farmland and building greenhouses. The article was an oh shit moment for me. Bass seems to be the same way down in Texas. Totally understands what is coming and is getting ready for it.

    As if on cue lots of bank downgrades in Europe after the close. My BIL’s bank got the axe and it is considered one of the strongest banks in Europe.

    I like the way Greer described, what the peak feels like in his latest post, and then you listen to Bass, and it’s the perfect storm.

  32. Robin Datta Says:

    TED Talks: Every day, we use materials from the earth without thinking, for free. But what if we had to pay for their true value: would it make us more careful about what we use and what we waste?

    Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

  33. Turboguy! Says:

    Mark Johnson Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 11:04 am
    “Guy, I live up in Oregon now, was down in Arizona, didn’t think that is where you want to be when things get bad. I had drawn up plans much like you are doing, but never committed. I recently thought that maybe I don’t have to commit like you, but learn how to live in the forests of Oregon without gardening and water harvesting. Basically just learn what you can eat that already grows and being close to a fresh water source. It would take practice, wouldn’t want to be stuck out there with a book in hand that I read once. This way I can live the life in the empire as long as possible but would be prepared when it collapses. What do you think?”

    Best advice I could give would be for you to buy some land now, get to know it, and learn to work it, but make sure that you’ve got enough of a network together to live off it.

    Some say that they’ll just melt into the forest and disappear, but living like that is significantly harder than you might expect, particularly so when you don’t know the area you’re “Melting” into! Mostly because everyone else has exactly the same ideas, and is thinking of going to pretty much the same place. Chances are they’re not going to take care of your patch of land or that area they inhabit just upstream from you as well as you might, so a secondary or even tertiary source of water might be a good idea.

    99% of any and all obviously edible flora and fauna will be violently consumed within the first two months. Therefore it pays big dividends to invest in either books detailing edible plants etc, or better yet someone that knows all about the local edible goodies.

    Remember networking, I’ll touch on that in a bit.

    If you buy the land now, you can build some kind of shelter on it, or even find some of the natural kind if possible, however unlikely that might be. Remember that it’s going to have to be far enough away that the mass exodus of the cities won’t simply blunder into your arrangements, but close enough that you can actually get there in the event of clogged roads, etc.

    Oregon has many of the same problems I do here. Namely: Cold. Wet and cold isn’t a good combination. If you’ve already got a shelter in place, it makes getting the rest you’re going to need quite a bit easier. Sleeping in the rain, especially up there, sucks bigtime.

    On networking: None of us can know everything, and none of us can do everything. Get some friends that have diverse skills and a second, third fourth and fifth set of eyes are always a good thing. They can be awake while you’re asleep. They can teach you nifty skills you might not have had. The most important part of this is to have a skill of your own. Something medical is always a good thing, agricultural is also a good thing. Learning repair of vehicles etc would be invaluable.

    I know, I know, “But Turbo, we wouldn’t be driving!” You’re right, but you learned a pile of other skills included in your vehicle repair. With that knowledge in hand you can repair and have an innate grasp of other mechanical items as well. Examples are designing and repairing pumps, wheels, etc.

    Kathy C: “OK here is my question of the day – why hasn’t civilization already collapsed. It is clear it is being held together with promises and hot air and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it still holds.”

    Economic/Societal Momentum.

    The Economy and Society at large are too big to do the whole, One day’s normal, the next you wake up and defecation is impacting oscillation. It’s going to slowly crap out, and it’s doing so now. Airplanes don’t typically crash because pilots want them to, and they can fly quite a long ways without engines, though they *ARE* going down. Examples: The Dow has been all but stuck where it is now. Granted the Dow is a view through a paper towel tube of the economy at large, it shouldn’t be doing what it is. While the Dow’s been stuck where it is, inflation’s rearing it’s ugly head, unemployment continues to rise, etc. Eventually, there simply isn’t going to be the impetus to keep going, but that time isn’t now…

    The Gubmint loves to trot out the U3, when the U6 is so much more accurate. I think they do this because as time goes on, people drop off the rolls of the U3 unemployment rate and the number of people receiving unemployment benefits (The U3) goes down, thus the official unemployment percentage goes down too! They can report that things are looking up, though they are not, and things are actually worse than before.

    The current U6 actually went down last month, though that could be explained away as holiday hirings who will be laid off in January. We should get a better picture of real unemployment in the U.S. then.

    Lastly, there needs to be a shove to get it to really collapse. We haven’t seen such a shove yet, but times are getting interesting.

  34. Kevin Moore Says:

    Spot the difference.

    One of the the world’s fastest growing economies:

    http://au.finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=000001.SS&t=2y&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

    versus one of the worlds fastestt contracting economies:

    http://au.finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=GD.AT&t=2y&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

  35. Victor Says:

    why hasn’t civilization already collapsed. It is clear it is being held together with promises and hot air and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it still holds.

    Kathy

    There is the financial economy, and there is the real economy. The financial economy is about to implode. The real economy carries on, because it must. It has been said that the financial economy provides the lubricant that allows the real economy to function smoothly. This is true, but that lubricant does not necessarily have to come from private financial sources (though the bankers would have you believe that!). When the financial markets collapse, it will cause a lot of disruption in the real economy, but it is not likely to cause it to collapse (though it will nudge it in that direction). When that happens, the governments will step in to nationalise the banks to keep banking services that serve the real economy operating – checking/savings accounts, loans, letters of credit, etc. It’s collapse will cause a lot of pain for a lot of people (investors, retirees, the banking/financial services industry, insurers, etc.), and perhaps even cost lives, but it won’t be the end of the world. The world has experienced several major financial disruptions and lived through it somehow, the most recent being the Great Depression.

    The real economy actually depends not on fiat money, but on cheap, available, concentrated energy (read ‘fossil fuels’) for its function. When that dries up, civilisation as we know it will be stressed, experience multiple fractures in its stability and robustness and finally collapse. But this collapse, unlike the financial collapse, is years away, I believe due to its in-built inertia. It will take multiple huge hits in highly vulnerable areas to finally bring it down – but down it WILL come! And when it does collapse, it will not be able to recover – ever.

    You have a bit of time yet – but not necessarily a fun time…. ;-)

  36. Victor Says:

    Guy

    Well…if Dmitry says it, then it must be true!… :-)

    Seriously, though, I think we will have the opportunity to see that position proved out (or not) in the not too distant future, don’t you think?

  37. Victor Says:

    Guy

    A couple of comments on Dmitry’s article. Governments aren’t destroyed – they are re-formed or replaced – even bankrupt governments.

    The world of finance is a fantasy world. It is like a bubble. It expands, then pops. And another bubble takes its place.

    The real economy is the real world. Food is grown. Goods are manufactured. Transport happens. Real people buy, consume and produce. We have to.

    The big concern with Dmitry is that the credit markets will lock up. And he is absolutely correct. But he is wrong to think that nothing can be done about that. He is wrong because he has accepted the bankers’ position that the world ends if they end.

    What both they and Dmitry forget or overlook is that governments are fully capable of 1) printing money themselves – they don’t need private bankers for that, and 2) that governments can lend money and provide public banking services using the nationalised banking infrastructures already ion place. Will they do it? Of course they will! No one is going to allow shipping to cease for any significant time – unless they have no fuel or the fuel is too expensive – enter peak oil.

  38. Ed Says:

    Timely post given some of the discussions above:

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/

  39. Victor Says:

    An excellent reference guide (informal) on LENR technology (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions – a.k.a. ‘Cold Fusion’)

    http://earthbagbuilding.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/e-cat-update-lenr-confirmed-by-mainstream-scientists/

  40. Guy McPherson Says:

    Greer failed to notice that the recession induced by U.S. oil peaking in 1970 actually started in October 1973, not 1974. Also, his hubris is on full display when he claims he came up with the term “tertiary economy.”

  41. Christopher Says:

    Thanks for making the videos available here, Guy. Informative and inspiring, as always. I am curious about the proposed dam you mentioned; I may have missed it if you brought it up elsewhere. Is the mud hut in danger of being at the bottom of a lake?

    I tend to agree with Turboguy on the whole one-man-alone-living-off-the-land-thing. I imagine it can be done, though it would shorten one’s lifespan considerably. Only a small, nomadic or semi-nomadic tribe could accomplish it; and civilization frowns on such group activities these days. Better to do as Turboguy suggests, and as Guy has shown by example: low-impact gardening. I would suggest that anyone young and healthy enough, and not already on their way therein, get to it, and quickly. Putting together a working garden, and learning the ropes of growing stuff in their particular bioregion, takes time and capital; and the latter is in increasingly short supply.

    Gardening is not the ideal relationship between our species and its planet, but barring a quick die-off of humans and return of primal wilderness (there is virtually none left now), it is likely the best we can do.

    Best of luck.

    Chris

  42. The REAL Dr House Says:

    Victor, every generation thinks their situation and problems outshine any other. And acknowledging that, I realize you may well be correct in your assessment of the global financial system. That being said, never before in history has the real economy been so dependent on the financial economy. A person can’t participate in the real economy to buy food, travel to work, etc. if the industrial farm has collapsed due to lack of credit and the gas stations have no fuel for the same reason. Sure, the government could step in to get the fuel to market but one failed harvest is all it takes for the whole show to come to an end. Virtually every other crucial portion of our lifestyle is now totally dependent on the financial sector because we’ve replaced local economies with a global one. My barter clinic is an excellent example. Almost no one has anything to barter because I limit items to things personally grown or produced. It’s startling how few have any skills for survival. When the financial sector collapses I suspect it will be lights out shortly thereafter. . . . Perhaps this is why the US is preparing FEMA camps. They know what we’re facing.

  43. Victor Says:

    TRDH

    Perhaps you are correct – certainly that is the most widespread view. I am, however, not ready to accept that as I think there are alternative scenarios that could yet be played out. As an example, you, like others, assume there will be no credit. Well, what if there is? What if the government offers that credit? Why couldn’t they?

    FEMA Camps – I believe they are there to handle the social unrest that will occur in the event of a major event – like the collapse of the banking sector in which many, many people would be thrown out of work and would be loose and extremely volatile – they become part of the 30% expendables portion of the population. Let’s see, 30% of 300M – something like 90M out-of-work very pissed off people with no future? They need to be controlled. But 70% are still working. And the businesses that haven’t failed need credit. I think the government will be there for that.

    When either global oil production starts its irreversible decline, or when WWIII is started and oil prices go through the roof, then you will see massive die-off in the coming years. Collapse will truly be here then.

    Money is fantasy and can be made up any time. Oil is REAL and can’t be replaced or synthesised at reasonable cost. The dependency we have on money is real enough as a medium of exchange, but always remember that it is fiat – it can not only be destroyed, but it can be created as well. The bankers don’t want you to believe that, but it is true. And don’t think the government is not keeping this in mind as they make contingency plans for the financial collapse.

  44. Guy McPherson Says:

    What if the government offers that credit? Why couldn’t they?

    The Federal Reserve Bank has been supplying money to banks at zero percent interest. In effect, all the primary dealers (i.e., big banks) have access to money for nothing. And yet, they’re still losing money hand over fist. So the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, for the first time ever, aids the illegal transfer of money from investors to MF Global. The U.S. Government looks the other way.

    In other words, the Fed and U.S. government have already been supplying free credit. And yet, it’s not enough because oil supply has already started its irreversible decline. The financial system fails without cheap energy.

  45. Ken Cordray Says:

    Kathy C I often wonder the same thing but then I meet another person who believes that a new president will change things or a person who believes we are going to switch to Hydrogen economy when oil runs out or a person who just “KNOWS” we are going to be fine because “Someone will think of something so don’t be a such a doom and gloom person!”. Sound familiar? we are running on blind hope and faith and most people will put their hands over their ears and say “I don’t want to here this!Why are you so negative!” They will pretend until the end. For us it is ignorance of ignorance and denial that doom us.

  46. Kathy C Says:

    Trust is IMO the non-tangible quality that holds things together. It is rarely recognized as something important, yet it is vital. Laws and enforcement are necessary in a large society to generate trust. As we can see laws have been repealed and enforcement has become lax or non-existent. MF Global may be the event that begins to unravel things. Trust has been on shaky grounds for several years now. Because it is a psychological phenomenon, it can evaporate quickly and with devastating consequences. Hot air and promises are part of trying to shore up trust the wrong way. Prosecution would do far more for re-establishing trust than anything else. Of course virtually free energy of fossil fuels is what built the edifice to such huge proportions such that this collapse of trust will create a spectacular crash such as has never been seen before.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/why-uk-trail-mf-global-collapse-may-have-apocalyptic-consequences-eurozone-canadian-banks-jeffe

  47. Victor Says:

    The credit made available to primary lenders never made it out to the economy…it was captured by the banks and gambled away. As long as the present banking system is in place, this will continue. Once, however, the financial system collapses, these folks will be driven out of the picture as governments are forced to nationalise the banks and take over banking services.

    Peak oil did indeed trigger all this as the global production limit was hit, putting us on the great undulating plateau we have since been riding on. But oil has not yet begun its actual decline – production has been relatively stable since peak, oscillating between low demand (economic downturn) and increased demand where the ceiling is hit immediately limiting growth).

    But soon, like the period 2012-2015, it will start a noticeable decline as it falls off the plateau. That will be when, as TurboGuy says,”defecation is impacting oscillation”. Even then, it will be a few years before it makes its way through the system enough to break the technological infrastructure. Once it does that, the whole edifice collapses rapidly.

    My opinion only…

  48. Victor Says:

    Kathy

    You are so right. Every day now I hear more and more financial advisers and prognosticators advising folks that the trust is gone from the system, and not to invest their money into hands that will only steal it in the end. Most are advising to purchase gold or silver, but even then invest in metals you hove physical possession of: otherwise, like most gold investors today, you will find in the end that there never was physical gold to be had – the physical stuff is being sold multiple times, much like the re-hypothecation scheme operates with fiat money.

  49. Victor Says:

    Is Africa’s wildlife being eaten to extinction?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8877062.stm

    Quote:

    Traditionally, bushmeat hunting was a subsistence activity.

    It is now a multi-billion dollar international trade involving hundreds of species, from forest herbivores such as duikers and other antelopes to wild pigs, rodents, elephants and primates.

    The exponential increase in the trade over recent years is being driven by demand from the exploding and ever more urbanised human population in Africa, and the increasing international value and demand for bushmeat products.

    Commercial logging and the associated infrastructure development and expansion have given hunters easy access to previously impenetrable African forests, and ready-made transport routes to towns and cities.

    Unsustainable consumption

    The term bushmeat is normally used in reference to the illegal trade.

    The trade may be illegal because the species concerned is protected under national or international laws, the method of killing is prohibited, or because the animal is taken from a protected area.

  50. Guy R. McPherson Says:

    The Fed’s Intervention Didn’t Solve Anything… It Just Pushed the Collapse Back a Few Weeks. Opening lines:

    It’s now been two weeks since the Federal Reserve lead a coordinated effort to lower the cost of borrowing Dollars worldwide. While the markets initially hailed this move as a “solution” we’ve since seen that it was in fact an act of desperation/ cushioning of the coming European banking collapse.

    The REAL implications of the Fed’s move are:

    1) Europe was/is on the verge of its Lehman moment.
    2) The ECB/ Germany/ IMF/ EFSF bailout options have all failed.
    3) The Central Banks are growing truly desperate to prop up the system.

    Europe was on the verge of its Lehman moment. I do not think that the coordinated Fed move has stopped this from happening… rather it’s merely pushed back Europe’s Crisis by a few weeks.

    Remember, the situation in Europe is one of insolvency, NOT liquidity. Banks across Europe are leveraged at an average of 26 to 1. This means that they own 26 times more assets (read: loans made to consumers, businesses, etc) than they do equity.

    At these leverage levels, if the assets fall even 4% in value, you’ve wiped out ALL equity, rendering the bank bankrupt.

  51. Guy R. McPherson Says:

    Obama defends indefinite detention of Americans without charge. Now’s the time to place your order for an orange jumpsuit and a shady spot in Gitmo.

    Will somebody remind me why we want to keep this game going? Oh, that’s right … so we can have ready access to high fructose corn syrup and sports on television.

  52. Victor Says:

    Obama defends indefinite detention of Americans without charge.

    Really very scary stuff. And what is even scarier is the incredible Orwellian manner in which he speaks of it. The Bill of Rights has just been dissolved…and I am convinced that people still do not realise it, and won’t until their neighbours start disappearing in the middle of the night. Can’t happen in America? Not so. They won’t disappear people? Not so…they train Latin American people in these techniques all the time. And now will be turning them on their own people. It will be interesting to see how the military accepts these new duties. If they have any spine, they will tell Congress and the President to shove it.

  53. Victor Says:

    Very interesting RT documentary on scientists and GM food. Must view. It will make your skin crawl.

    Scientists under attack

    http://rt.com/programs/documentary/scientists-attack-verhaag-denkmal/

  54. Michael Irving Says:

    Guy,

    The video of president obama is in fact as Rachel says, “Stunning.” This is the other bookend to go with the provisions of the Defense Authorization Act. It is a throwback to the time before 1215AD when the divine right of kings prevailed. It makes me physically ill. How could anyone, outside of the 1% (even Turboguy), listen to this speech and not be appalled by this overturning of the Constitution? How is possible that anyone can listen to this abomination and not empathize with OWS?

    Michael Irving

  55. Turboguy! Says:

    Victor Says:

    “why hasn’t civilization already collapsed. It is clear it is being held together with promises and hot air and I can’t for the life of me figure out why it still holds.

    Kathy

    There is the financial economy, and there is the real economy. The financial economy is about to implode. The real economy carries on, because it must. It has been said that the financial economy provides the lubricant…”

    HAH! Symphony! Well said and all that. At least we know where you and I agree. That post was surprisingly salient!

    My only disagreement stems from your opinion that the government, who we all know is able to simply turn on the presses and print money, might be able to further inflate their way out of, or give credit, to their currency. Every fiat dollar we have in our collective wallet is based on the notion that the government owes us some value for that note/coin. If the note printing isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, we, and the government especially, suddenly has a problem and must return to a standard, be it gold or something else that has intrinsic value. I keep hearing a nasty rumor that there isn’t any Gold at Ft. Knox, and they aren’t allowing anyone to look.

    I wonder why…

    I suppose that we could have a Wiemar Republic situation and take our wheelbarrows full of cash to the local store, but you’re more likely to have better luck with a chicken, a couple handfuls of Asparagus or a sack of potatoes. Maybe a couple rolls of Toilet Paper, but then again, that’s pretty much what you’ve got in the wheelbarrow. The fact is that we simply can not print our way to economic recovery.

    “…like the collapse of the banking sector in which many, many people would be thrown out of work and would be loose and extremely volatile – they become part of the 30% expendables portion of the population. Let’s see, 30% of 300M – something like 90M out-of-work very pissed off people with no future? They need to be controlled. But 70% are still working. And the businesses that haven’t failed need credit. I think the government will be there for that.”

    That’s Great Depression levels of unemployment. There is a difference between then and now though, and it’s why I agree with you that things would quickly get out of hand: There’s three times as many people now, and the vast majority of them live in very urban areas.

    We were extremely agricultural back then, and people had much in the way of skill farming, both husbandry and ag, with which to feed themselves. Not so today. With the “Just in Time” system we have in place for food etc, we could very well see utterly empty shelves within a week in many markets.

    Wanna see an urban area on fire? Let the food not get delivered for two weeks. Probably less in the Metropolises…

  56. Turboguy! Says:

    Michael Irving Says:

    The video of president obama is in fact as Rachel says, “Stunning.” This is the other bookend to go with the provisions of the Defense Authorization Act. It is a throwback to the time before 1215AD when the divine right of kings prevailed. It makes me physically ill. How could anyone, outside of the 1% (even Turboguy), listen to this speech and not be appalled by this overturning of the Constitution? How is possible that anyone can listen to this abomination and not empathize with OWS?

    Again, my disagreement isn’t with all the message, er… messages of OWS, it’s with the delivery. I actually agree with quite a few of them, I just don’t think that trying to be as much of a public embarrassment as possible is conducive to having people empathize with your positions. Turning a public park or county government plaza into a Pikey camp isn’t a protected right to assemble under the First Amendment of the Constitution no matter how anyone wants to interpret it.

    This bill you’re talking about has been quite the hot topic at both my places of employment and it’s not popular. The day, THE DAY, that piece of shit Zer0 (Obama) or any other President tried to push Martial Law or started having the military take over my job would be the day my badge/resignation would be on the Sgt’s desk.

    That bill is simply not Constitutional, and if signed, Obama and everyone that voted for it should be removed from office, forcibly.

    This is further proof that the Democratic party is just as bad as the Republicans, in fact I’d say they’re two sides of the same coin.

  57. Guy R. McPherson Says:

    Good news:

    From David Stockman, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan Administration: “The real story of the present is the shadow banking system, the unstable and massive repo market, and the apparent daisy chain of hyper-rehypothecated collateral. It looks like the sound bite version amounts to the fact that the European banking system is on the leading edge of collapse for the whole system.”

    IMF’s Lagarde: Europe Crisis “Escalating”

    Australian Banks Given One Week To Prepare For European “Meltdown”

    Bad news:

    Arctic Sea Ice Could be Gone by 2015 (seems very likely at this point)

  58. Robin Datta Says:

    The changes wrought by the Defense Authorization Act are one of degree, not of kind. Any and every state has to retain the option to initiate force against non-compliers, even if they are peaceful. The only distinction between the various statist socio-policical systems in this regard is WHEN they initiate the use of force, and the INTENSITY of the force they use.

    But of course, even wars have been fought over subtle differences in interpretation of both religious and political issues, when outside observers would have a hard time distinguishing between the adversaries. So raising a ruckus about this new proliferation of state power is a response that is well within the norms.

  59. scott Says:

    Guy- really enjoyed the second video.
    we tried the khaki campbell ducks this year and are very pleased….great foragers and egg layers. Also hardy- they don’t seem to mind the winter ,so far. I think if I had to choose between a few ducks or chickens, I would have to go with the ducks. Plus, they are so entertaining to have around (more so than chickens).
    They grew about twice as fast as the chicken chicks but then lost ground after a few months (as far as weight gain for meat production) We heard that they will get broody so we hope to hatch some eggs this spring. We also have about 75 chickens of various breeds and have found that the buff orpingtons are a hardy breed that make great mothers….hatched out several clutches of chicks this spring that all survived.
    Just spent the past few days processing our pigs…got about 175 pounds of meat etc from each animal. We rendered the lard(about 16- 1 qt jars from each 340 pound pig) which will answer one of our main concerns for post-collapse which is a source of fat. cheers d-0

  60. Robin Datta Says:

    A solution to the 5,000 mile Caesar salad and perhaps even food scarcity?

    Homaro Cantu + Ben Roche: Cooking as alchemy

  61. Kathy C Says:

    A US court has won a default judgement that Iranian officials, including its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, provided help to the 9/11 hijackers behind the worst terror attack on American soil. The lawsuit was filed by the families of the atrocity’s victims. There was no Iranian representation in court. RT talks to Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.

  62. Kevin Moore Says:

    Moody’s downgraded Belgium by two notches to Aa3, its fourth highest rating. It warned that indebted eurozone countries such as Belgium will find it increasingly hard to fund their debts or achieve economic growth in the face of Europe’s austerity drive.

    “The fragility of the sovereign debt markets is increasingly entrenched and unlikely to be reversed in the near future,” warned Moody’s.

    Rival ratings agency Fitch earlier said it would consider cutting Belgium’s credit rating, along with those of Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Cyprus and Ireland. France’s AAA credit rating remained intact for another day, although Fitch did revise its outlook down to “negative”.

    The latest credit rating changes came on the day that the EU released details of the “fiscal compact” deal designed to rescue the euro and prevent countries from going bust. This was published amid concerns over rising bad debt levels in European banks and the growing dependence of major lenders on funds provided by the European Central Bank.

    French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel said the fiscal compact could go ahead with the backing of just nine of the eurozone’s 17 members. It will allow Brussels to enforce greater budgetary control and provide a solid firewall against shocks from the financial system.

    But Fitch said the wrangling over fundamental aspects of the compact and the failure to clearly identify who will pay if the plan fails was undermining its standing with the markets.

    As if to emphasise this point, the new prime minister of Italy, Mario Monti, openly disagreed with Berlin over the speed and severity of proposed cuts to public spending. He warned that further demands from the EU for cuts would undermine his efforts to bring stability and threaten a north-south eurozone split.

    Monti said that Europe’s response to the debt crisis “should be wrapped in a long-term sustainable approach, not just to feed short-term hunger for rigour in some countries”.

    He added: “To help European construction evolve in a way that unites, not divides, we cannot afford that the crisis in the eurozone brings us … the risk of conflicts between the virtuous north and an allegedly vicious south.”

    Monti is under pressure from Italian unions, which have warned that the country risked a “social explosion” if the technocrat prime minister pressed ahead with huge spending cuts and tax rises.

    Public sector workers are expected to join a nationwide strike on Monday after MPs in Rome backed a €30bn (£25bn) austerity programme that includes an increase in VAT to 23% and a rise in the pension age, eventually up to 70. The cuts package was approved by 495 votes to 88. Had it been defeated, Monti and his government of technocrats would have been forced to resign exactly a month after the economist was sworn in with the task of keeping Italy from being the next victim of Europe’s debt crisis.

    On the bond markets, Italy’s borrowing costs declined along with those of Spain after the European Central Bank intervened to buy Italian and Spanish debt from some of the continent’s worst-hit banks. Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas were downgraded on Thursday after repeated concerns that their loans to southern European countries could become worthless.

    The eight-page compact being touted by Sarkozy and Merkel as the answer to the eurozone’s debt and deficit crisis confers new powers on the European Court of Justice for policing balanced budget legislation limiting national debt levels in all eurozone countries, and commits the signatories to quasi-automatic penalties against countries that break the 3% maximum limit on budget deficits, with the European Commission as the referee.

    The first draft of the “fiscal and stability compact” – agreed at a watershed EU summit last week in which Britain deployed its veto – was circulated to the 27 governments of the EU ahead of what promises to be acrimonious negotiations starting next week.

    A simple majority of eurozone countries – nine of 17 – would see the “fiscal union” come into force within a month of the nine ratifications, a move clearly designed to stymie, for example, a no vote in a potential Irish referendum or a rejection by other eurozone parliaments.

    Senior EU officials confirmed that all 27 EU governments, including veto-wielding British, would be involved in the negotiations, though the UK was being accorded mere “observer status” in the talks, according to the officials. British sources contested that second-rank status.

    David Cameron’s unprecedented veto last week thwarted German plans to anchor the new pact in a revised EU Lisbon treaty, forcing the other 26 to take the “second-best” route of forging a new international treaty between governments which may not contradict the Lisbon treaty.

    The two main innovations going beyond the existing stability pact governing the euro are the automatic sanctions for those breaking deficit limits, and a “debt brake” that pledges participating countries to enact balanced budgets and ties their hands on public spending and borrowing. Two EU institutions – the court of justice and the European Commission – would be empowered to rule on conformity with these stipulations and the commission would effectively be charged with imposing fines.

    The aim is “to encourage and, if necessary, compel the member state to reduce a deficit,” the draft stated.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/16/credit-rating-cut-eurozone-countries-threat

  63. Robin Datta Says:

    All the hijinks in Europe are an effort to sustain the charade of actual value (in terms of resources, goods and services) in the nebulous realm of high finance.

  64. Victor Says:

    A fascinating study has recently been released by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In it the authors have reached the conclusion that not only is the world highly inter-connected, but that only a few corporations essentially control the lot, an economic ‘super-entity’ as they frame it. Not surprisingly, banks and financial institutions comprise 3/4 of this centre of power. They control not only global commerce, but hold vast political and economic influence over the nations of the world and this control is expanding logarithmically. This is further evidence, in my opinion, that much of the global unrest and financial chaos occurring today is planned, or heavily influenced, by just a few extremely powerful organisations (or perhaps more likely, the powers behind those few corporations).

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf

    Quote: We find that, despite its small size, the core holds collectively a large fraction of the total network control. In detail,
    nearly 4/10 of the control over the economic value of TNCs [transnational corporations] in the world is held, via a complicated web of ownership relations, by a group of 147 TNCs in the core, which has almost full control over itself. The top holders within the core can thus be thought of as an economic “super-entity” in the global network of corporations. A relevant additional fact at this point is that 3/4 of the core are financial intermediaries.

  65. Victor Says:

    U.S. Mayors Decry Rise in Poverty, Homelessness

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30012.htm

    It never ceases to amaze me how priorities are so sadly ordered, especially in the US. Cities across the country are screaming about the rise in hunger and homelessness, and the continuing resistance against food and social aid. All the while, the US has no hesitation in funding a military/industrial monstrosity to the tune of $690B per year, far, far more than any country in the world. What insanity! Irrational fear rules. So much real good could be done with that money, not only domestically in providing jobs and food and education and homes and medical care and new sources of energy for its people. Indeed, there would even be enough left over to provide real humanitarian assistance to other countries, working with them to improve their lives instead of bombing them and making more enemies.

    Truly sad.

  66. Kathy C Says:

    As usual with Obama any slightly good action is still too good to be true

    BREAKING: Calls needed now to Obama to stop Keystone XL pipeline
    by TarSandsAction.org

    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-12-16/breaking-calls-needed-now-obama-stop-keystone-xl-pipeline

    It all comes down to Barack Obama.

    As I type this, Big Oil’s representatives in the House and Senate are pushing legislation that would rush approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Up until now, President Barack Obama has stood strong, threatening to reject any bill that includes the pipeline.

    But in the last hour, some terrible news has begun to leak from Washington, D.C.—President Obama seems to be on the verge of caving on Keystone. There’s no way to sugarcoat it—if the president allows Keystone to move forward, he will be failing the single biggest environmental test of his presidency.

    The next few hours will be absolutely crucial—the president needs to hear from you that cutting a back-room deal with Big Oil on Keystone XL is unacceptable. If he steps up and threatens to veto this bill, he can stop this pipeline in its tracks.

    More at the link

  67. Victor Says:

    As an added point to Kathy’s post re:Obama and the Keystone Pipeline project, let me add this link from one of the anti-pipeline groups – some useful info here:

    http://www.tarsandsaction.org/spread-the-word/key-facts-keystone-xl/

    Impact on jobs will be minimal of of the low-paying manual labour type.

    Oil will be refined and exported to other countries, providing no ‘oil security’ as claimed.

    The pipeline will likely result in increased prices at the pumps for Americans because the current pipeline network oversupplies the Mid-West states, causing lower prices.

    Much more profit for the oil companies because exports are not taxed as much as domestic

    A major spill might well impact underground water that supplies a couple million people.

    Most importantly, the pipeline will allow Canada to vastly increase production of tar sands oil and will likely be a climate disaster. In anticipation of this increase in production, Canada has now pulled out of the existing Kyoto agreement.

    Corporations rule the world.

  68. Victor Says:

    As usual with Obama any slightly good action is still too good to be true

    Obama will cave…that is his history. This is always his strategy. He comes out strongly for an action that is widely supported by the people, then caves at the last minute, claiming that he had to compromise in the interests of progress.

    His strategy is getting really, very old now – but it still seems to be effective..people actually believe he is subject to political pressure from the American people, when in fact he is being faithful to his constituency.

  69. Kathy C Says:

    Victor “people actually believe he is subject to political pressure from the American people, when in fact he is being faithful to his constituency.” Exactly, and perhaps worse, perhaps he is not so much faithful to those who support him as he embraces those values personally himself. In which case he is the ultimate of liars. He looks into the camera and lies.

  70. Kathy C Says:

    William Black on Corporate Fraud

  71. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘All the hijinks in Europe are an effort to sustain the charade of actual value (in terms of resources, goods and services) in the nebulous realm of high finance.’

    that’s one way of looking at it, robin. another is that european governments are 1) attempting to deal with curbing debt (or live within their present means without ‘borrowing’ (stealing) from the future) much more honestly than in the usa and other countries that only pay lip service to addressing the issue, and 2) doing it in such a regressive manner that it’s fomenting social upheaval, inflicting hardship upon the poor to protect the privileges of the wealthy. one can only imagine how it’s going to play out in the usa when the debt crisis becomes surreal (t)here. considering the present sorry state of american politics and ‘values’, revering wealth and status and blaming the poor for everything ‘bad’ including poverty, the shit’s going to hit the fan with much more force and create a much worse situation.

    ‘It never ceases to amaze me how priorities are so sadly ordered, especially in the US. Cities across the country are screaming about the rise in hunger and homelessness, and the continuing resistance against food and social aid. All the while, the US has no hesitation in funding a military/industrial monstrosity to the tune of $690B per year, far, far more than any country in the world. What insanity! Irrational fear rules. So much real good could be done with that money, not only domestically in providing jobs and food and education and homes and medical care and new sources of energy for its people. Indeed, there would even be enough left over to provide real humanitarian assistance to other countries, working with them to improve their lives instead of bombing them and making more enemies.

    Truly sad.’

    very well said, victor. liked your analysis of obama in a subsequent post also. it’s astonishing how gullible/foolish american ‘liberals’ tend to be. as long as someone occasionally says something they like with seeming passion and sincerity, (s)he has their support, regardless of whether or not there is any substance/honesty to her/his words. as kathy said, successful pols like obama are just plain liars.

  72. Guy R. McPherson Says:

    I’ve posted a guest essay. It’s here.

  73. Peter Jolliffe Says:

    People building sustainable communities is great but surely when the collapse really takes hold, millions, or more likely, ‘Billions’, of people will need to have died one way or another before these communities would have any chance of living in safety and finding any peace?

    I am supporting the Resource Based Economy idea being advocated by the Zeitgeist movement and the Venus project because that’s the only idea I can see to a future that ‘is’ fully sustainable but at the same time doesn’t entail the deaths of so many people.

  74. Kerry K. Says:

    Holy Carp Guy, I am so glad I discovered you over at Hubberts Arms
    http://www.hubberts-arms.org/index.php The phoenix out of the ashes of Lifeaftertheoilcrash.org Some good people over there.

    Anyhoo, I gotta say your courage is an absolute inspiration to me and I’m spreading the word (yours and mine)as far and wide and fast as I can. You are a true kindred spirit and a friend, even though I don’t know you. Thank you for your travails and keep up the good fight. Mine are just starting here in Northern New Mexico.